April 29, 2014 — team release — AXR photo — DENVER, N.C. – It’s been three weeks since the previous round of IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition at Long Beach and Action Express Racing has been busy preparing for the second stop of the West Coast swing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.
The event marks Round 4 of the 2014 TUDOR Championship and will once again feature a sprint race format of two hours. The four TUDOR Championship classes will be split into two separate races with the prototypes competing along with the GTLM machinery just as they did through the streets of Long Beach.
Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa have raced to podium finishes in each of the first three races of the season and target a similar performance in this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda event.
“I’m really looking forward to Laguna Seca,” said Barbosa. “We had a great race at Long Beach and I’m really excited to get back behind the wheel of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype. We’ve finished on the podium in the first three races which is a great achievement for Action Express and I really can’t wait to get to Laguna and see what we can do there.”
Both Fittipaldi and Barbosa have tallied numerous laps around the scenic 2.238-mile, 11-turn California road course and will look to use their knowledge of the track to their advantage.
Fittipaldi made seven starts at Laguna Seca in his CART days – completing over 1,200 miles at the track and taking a best finish of second in 2002 while driving for Newman Haas. He also has two Rolex Series race starts at the road course to his credit.
“Racing at Laguna Seca is going to be a little different than last year because of the different rule package,” said Fittipaldi, who drove to seventh in last year’s Laguna event while co-driving with Barbosa for Action Express. “We’ve had a very good start to the year and I’m very confident that we’ll have a great car again and we’ll see what we can do this weekend.”
Barbosa has five Daytona Prototype races at Laguna Seca under his belt, netting his best finish of fifth at the track in 2012 while driving for Action Express Racing in the No. 9 Corvette DP. Barbosa and Fittipaldi have more than 2,800 combined miles of experience at the Laguna Seca circuit.
In addition to preparing for the Laguna Seca event, the Action Express Racing team has also been hard at work testing for the upcoming Watkins Glen event. As part of the Continental Tire test at Watkins Glen International – which marks the third round of the North American Endurance Cup – Fittipaldi logged laps last week in preparation for the six-hour endurance race. Action Express Racing has won the previous two 6 Hour races at Watkins Glen and will look to go for three-in-a-row when the TUDOR Championship visits the track in June.
“We have started this year on the right foot and we have been working really hard to be in a position to continue that as we move into the shorter races,” said Gary Nelson. “It was exciting to see the great teamwork in the pits at Long Beach from our guys, and we know we will have to continue to perform at a high level to be where we want to be at the end of the year. It is great to have Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the new IMSA schedule and hopefully we can put on another good show for the fans this weekend.”
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda will go green at 2:45 PM (PST) and will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 2:30 PM (PST). MRN Radio will carry live coverage on www.mrn.com, while live timing and scoring can be found at www.scoring.imsa.com.